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Thursday, August 19, 2010

He Said: Who Should Be The Montreal Canadiens Next Captain?

By Willey

Gorgeous Josh Gorges: Not a Pretty Pick But the Right Choice For Captain
Being captain of the Montreal Canadiens is no easy task. Not only are you the figure head of the oldest and most successful franchise in the NHL, but you are smack dab in the middle of the hockey epicenter where players are not only athletes and icons but borderline deities.

It is for this very reason that when I think of whom should be captain of the Bleu Blanc Rouge, I want a player who knows the city, knows the team and most importantly who knows what it is like to experience the ups and downs of the fan base.

I want a guy who throws it out on the line in a nightly fashion. A guy who has been through and conquered adversity with a pedigree of leadership and, quite frankly, I want a winner who will be here for many more years to come.

Although he will never fill the shoes of the past Habs greats before him, and although he will never be considered an NHL All-Star, I want Josh Gorges to be named captain of the Montreal Canadiens.

I will admit that that the majority of wanting No.26 as captain comes down to a personal bias. I like the guy!

But when you look at what this kid has been through, what he has won, and where he is going, the decision starts to take form from a personal bias to an almost clear and definitive answer.

It's In The Numbers
At 6’1, 190 lbs, this 27-year-old veteran blue liner is entering his sixth season in the NHL and fifth as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

As a newcomer to the team Gorges struggled to find his niche in Montreal.

As a Habs Rookie he was rarely used and was never really given the opportunity to prove his worth. He completed the 2006-07 season averaging just 12 minutes of ice time, finishing the year with a minus-1, the worst statistics of his pro career.

His adjustment to the Eastern conference and to the city, however, were made with ease. In his three seasons since that rookie campaign in Montreal, Gorges has seen his minutes jump almost 100% from just 12:00 minutes per game to more than 21:00 in 2009-10—ranking him second on the team.

I’ve heard arguments that minutes played are irrelevant because much of those minutes are played on the man-advantage but in Gorges case nothing comes easy. Not only is he playing more often than pretty much any other teammate but he is being used in much more critical situations,

During the 2009-10 campaign, Gorges was utilized for 3:09 per night on the PK, ranking him first in average ice time for the team.

Over the course of the season this ended up being more than 40 minutes of additional ice time over the next closest Hab.

His presence however is not only felt with average ice time but has transcended into so many other aspects of the game. Gorges is among the team leaders in blocked shots and +/- on a near yearly basis, having accumulated a rating of +22 with more than 400 blocked shots in his four seasons in Montreal.

Do I have you convinced yet? Do numbers mean little if anything to you?

A Pedigree of Leadership
Certainly I would not stop there, because numbers can be skewed any way you want. Furthermore, numbers mean absolutely nothing when it comes to being a leader.

If you were to take a quick glance at Gorges career, however, you would soon see that Gorges has been a winner wherever he has played. Be it Junior, International or NHL level hockey.

As a member of Kelowna Rockets, Gorges was the highest scoring defensemen on the team netting 101 points in his final 116 regular season and another 35 points in his final 36 playoff matches—despite playing alongside future NHL stars Shea Weber and Duncan Keith.

His success however was not only limited to point production, but team accolades too. As captain of the Rockets, Gorges had the pleasure of hoisting the Memorial Cup in 2004. This success was further echoed Internationally when, as captain of the Under 20 Canadian World Junior team, Gorges led his squad to the silver Medal in that very same year.

Yet despite all of this success, not a single team took a chance on the him, ultimately leading to him going undrafted and signing as a Free Agent with the San Jose Sharks—before ultimately finding his way to Montreal in the Craig Rivet trade.

So there it is. I threw it all out on the line.

But before you hit the comment button and tell me I am wrong, I ask for one simple favor. Just put your bias aside for a second and try to look at it in a different way.

You might be a fan of Brian Gionta, or perhaps Andrei Markov or even Mike Cammalleri—any of these three guys are certainly deserving to wear the “C”. When you look around the NHL it seems like all the superstars on their respective teams are given the captaincy.

There is a difference however between someone deserving to wear the “C” and someone who is born to wear it.

Gorges has overcome a lot of adversity, has been captain of two teams in two of the most important tournaments in the hockey world. He has a led his team to victory. He has stood up for teammates whenever it was needed and has continuously kept things light in the dressing room.

In addition, Gorges has played more minutes than every other player on the team not named Markov, and has developed into a defensive stalwart on the PK and 5-on-5.

Most importantly, however, he leads by example and is an example to many. Simply put Josh Gorges must be named captain of the Montreal Canadiens because he is the best man for the job.

Read the She Said counter-point.

Willey was the shinning light among the wicked growing up as the lone Habs fan in Toronto. Pray to Holy Ghosts of the old forum and all shall be answered I was told, and just like that my family was transferred back to Montreal and away from the damned. Olé Olé Olé!

1 comment:

  1. I also think Gorges is a strong choice for the reasons you've mentioned. I also like the guy, his work ethic, his ability to handle the media and his tenure thus far with the team. I just think that the next Habs captain will likely have to be inked to a deal that lasts beyond one more season before JM will let him don the C. I'm also a little biased in Gorges in that he's still young and so far can't compete with Gomez and Gio in terms of experience and the knowledge that comes with that.

    Fab read tho, and if the Habs do pick Gorges, I'll certainly be happy with the choice.